Pinehurst council moves forward on SMPO

PINEHURST – The Village of Pinehurst Council met Tuesday, Feb. 13, and approved updates to the fees and charges schedule for fiscal 2025.

Changes include an increase for residential building permits relating to residential additions, alterations or new construction from $0.17 per square foot to $0.30 per square foot, an 2-4% increase in the base fee for the rental of the Fair Barn and a $5 increase in administrative fees for memberships, classes, programs and youth day camps for residents.

The council signed off on a number of items related to the new Sandhills Metropolitan Planning Organization (SMPO).

“Once an urban area hits a population of 50,000 people or more, they need to create a metropolitan planning organization,” explained assistant village manager Doug Willardson. “It really deals with transportation planning. The southern Moore County area has reached that threshold with the last census, so we’re now creating this organization which gets everyone on the same page. A lot of what we do is prioritize projects for future funding.”

The first meeting of the SMPO, which was approved at the end of December, went well but there are a number of agreements and procedural hurdles that Pinehurst needs to approve to move forward.

“Pinehurst is not just a member of the organization, but a lead planning agency,” said Dana Van Nostrand, financial services director for Pinehurst. “We’re the one signing all these agreements… we will be the one executing the grant agreement documents and are administratively responsible.”

The items include a financial agreement with NCDOT, an agreement between Pinehurst and the SMPO, and the establishment of the SMPO Special Revenue Fund to account for revenue separately from the Village’s funds.

“We want to clarify what the Village is providing and what the expectations of the SMPO group is,” Willardson said. “On top of that, in exchange for all our services, there are payments. As the lead planning agency, we’re going to be housing it, so there’s a facility cost as well as administrative costs.”

The Village will receive $27,000 per year for being the lead agency.

The Council appointed Jimmy Duncan as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board and Board of Adjustments.

“We interviewed Mr. Duncan about three weeks ago and he was able to show us a couple of traits he has that we feel would be very helpful to the planning and zoning board,” said Planning and Zoning Board chair Jeramy Hooper. “Some of his experience in his work career, 34 years with Duke Power, much of that was dedicated to regulations, ordinances, reading and writing and deciphering those. What we really appreciated about Mr. Duncan during that interview was that he was able to very clearly and directly show us how he would reach back into the PDO and in fact how he had done so with some of our recent applications and came up with his thought process of how we would approach them. We felt that after showing us that, that that would be something helpful to what we do in our PDO.”

“We are residents of the Village, my wife and I, and we have no plan on going anywhere,” Duncan said. “I understand that Pinehurst is going to see growth and going to see change in the years to come and throughout my career I can tell you that I have always tried to put myself in a position that if there’s change coming, I would at least like to have a seat at the table as those changes come.”

The Village of Pinehurst Council will next meet March 12.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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